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Thanks to its user-friendly features, Uber has revolutionized public transportation and taxi services, with 93 million people across the world leveraging the platform each month.
So, if you’re considering entering the taxi industry, you’ll need a ride-sharing app like Uber to keep up with the competition. In this article, we’ll explore what makes Uber so popular and discuss how to make a ride-sharing app of your own. Keep reading to learn more.
Alternatively, if you’d like to understand app development in greater detail, check out this Idea Maker blog post.
What Is an Uber-Like App?
Uber is a car-for-hire service that connects nearby drivers to customers through intelligent algorithmic technology. Unlike regular taxi services, Uber drivers cannot pick up just any customer off of the streets. Instead, all rides must be prearranged through the Uber driver app.
As a result, calling an Uber is more like hiring a personal chauffeur for a short trip than a taxi service. This business model lends itself to several benefits, such as surge pricing for drivers and constant car availability for customers, solving the issue of supply and demand in the taxi industry.
Why Build an Uber-Like App?
Developing an app like Uber has the potential to be a highly lucrative endeavor, especially seeing as how young people in America are generally less interested in driving a vehicle than older generations. In fact, only 25% of 16-year-olds and 80% of 20- to 25-year-olds in the United States had a driver’s license in 2020. However, in 1997, 43% of 16-year-olds had obtained a license, as well as 90% of 20- to 25-year-olds.
Consequently, ride-sharing apps are on the rise, with 36% of Americans having already utilized the service by 2021, compared to only 15% in 2015. This massive popularity will likely continue for many more years to come, offering plenty of opportunities for new platforms to enter the market and compete with well-known names like Uber.
How Does Uber Work?
Essentially, Uber works through the intelligent use of geolocation tracking, which monitors the position of both clients and drivers. When a client orders an Uber car, the app connects them with the nearest, most available driver, ensuring a quick pickup and a regular flow of clients.
As explained above, when a customer orders an Uber, they privately hire a driver for one trip. In other words, the Uber app takes the place of the dispatch function of a traditional taxi firm. This enables the Uber app to get around many taxi licensing laws, creating a smoother user experience.
The Different Features of an Uber-Like App
Setting it apart from a traditional taxi platform, the Uber app has several advanced functionalities. Here are just a few.
Rapid Driver Sourcing
Uber can connect customers with drivers almost instantly through geo-tracking and surge pricing. By monitoring the location of drivers–where they are, where they’ve been, and where they’re headed–the Uber app connects clients to a nearby car en route to a convenient destination.
Once a car is requested, drivers have roughly one minute to accept or decline a job, ensuring swift sourcing. Uber also employs a surge pricing model during harsh weather and poor conditions, incentivizing drivers to work and enabling clients can connect with drivers almost immediately, 24/7.
Another advanced feature of Uber, lacking in many traditional taxi-booking apps, is the aforementioned geo-tracking. Without the superior location tracking of the Uber app, its rapid sourcing and excellent user experience would not be possible.
The geo-tracking features mean drivers don’t have to travel from one end of a city to the other, as they only see nearby jobs and are available at their convenience. This results in a smooth journey, from the initial payment to the final destination.
Uber’s driver app is equipped with a built-in map and navigation system that draws data from various sources, such as Google Maps and Apple Maps, to help drivers find the best route to a rider’s destination with ease. This feature allows the app’s drivers to automatically access turn-by-turn directions to the desired location as soon as a ride begins without any action required from the driver.
For riders, Uber makes the process of requesting and booking a ride simple and hassle-free. All you have to do is enter your destination and pickup location and, after viewing price estimates and confirming the ride, you will then be matched with a driver. The app lets you track your driver’s arrival on the map, notifying you when they are a few minutes away from your pickup location. In addition to on-demand rides, Uber also allows users to schedule rides up to 90 days in advance with its new Uber Reserve option.
Rating and Feedback
Perhaps one of the most essential features of Uber is the driver and passenger rating system. After a trip, clients can review their journey through the Uber passenger app, signaling to other customers the quality of their driver. This review is made visible when future passengers select the same car.
Similarly, the driver can also leave a passenger review, informing other drivers whether they should pick up a particular customer. For example, if a passenger hires a car while drunk and disorderly, they could cause issues for the driver. The driver can note this experience in their client review, making their behavior known to others.
Steps Involved in Building an Uber-Like App (App Development)
Now that you understand some of the advanced features of the Uber app, we’ll walk you through the process of developing an intelligent taxi-booking app of your own.
Alternatively, you may wish to expand your horizons and also learn how to build an app like Instagram, following Idea Maker’s guide.
The first step in developing any mobile app is to determine your niche. In the case of an Uber-like app, you’ll need to define what demographic of passengers you will be targeting. For example, you may wish to provide a swift service like Uber for individuals with mobility issues.
As a result, you must ensure that you understand what preparations these passengers would require. You may need to focus on connecting specialist accessibility vehicles or drivers with special basic medical training. Whatever demographic you focus on, it’s crucial to fully understand their needs in order to create an excellent user experience.
Design Refined UX & Functionality
With its many advanced features, the Uber app has an incredibly refined user experience (UX) that contributes to its popularity. Consequently, the best way to conceptualize your own Uber app is to look in more detail at the platform’s basic features. After understanding your audience, you can then begin designing your Uber-like app’s functionality and UX.
The Uber app allows users to message their drivers before pick-up. This lets customers inform drivers of any awkward pickup locations or special requirements. Though a seemingly simple feature, the messaging function enables an extra communication layer, improving the app’s UX.
Traditionally, if you’ve had an exceptional taxi journey, you’d give the driver a cash tip. Uber keeps in with the spirit of tipping through digital bonuses paid through the taxi-booking app. This ensures all tips are securely processed and accountable.
Customers can instantly pay drivers through integrated payment portals, such as PayPal and Apple Pay. This takes cash out of the equation, meaning users don’t have to worry about withdrawing money before a car ride. It also means drivers don’t have to worry about passengers being unable to afford their journey, as payments are made beforehand.
While geographical tracking is leveraged primarily for rapid driver sourcing, it is also used as a safeguarding measure. For example, if there is a dispute or difficult incident like theft between driver and passenger, Uber will know who the driver is, where they are and where they’ve been. This enables swift dispute resolution and ensures public safety.
Establish Intelligent Algorithm
Once you’ve defined the functionality of your Uber-like app, you should then establish an algorithm that determines the app’s processes. An algorithm is used to outline what happens when certain key events occur. For instance, if a user selects a driver, does the app immediately hire that car or does it first show the customer their reviews?
A robust algorithm is at the core of the Uber app, its intelligent functionality, and exceptional user experience. Uber’s algorithm is responsible for understanding where drivers are located based on geo-tracking, the client’s exact requirements, and which cars are best suited to the journey. Your algorithm must have clearly defined procedures for all events of user input.
Developing an algorithm may seem daunting, but it can be accomplished through easy-to-use flowchart software. At Idea Maker, we use MockFlow to design prototypes and algorithms when developing a cross-platform mobile application. Tools like MockFlow allow you to easily build decision trees based on user input.
Hire a Professional Mobile App Development Team
Now that you have established the fundamentals of your app, you are ready to enter the app development stage. If you have limited technical knowledge, it’s a good idea to hire a dedicated mobile app development company, like Idea Maker.
Not all developers are created equal, however, and there are several factors to consider before hiring. You can read more about hiring the right mobile app developer in Idea Maker’s extensive guide. Otherwise, keep reading for a brief overview.
Portfolio & Customer Testimonials
First, you should examine a development agency’s portfolio. Doing this will give you an idea of their quality of work and whether they’re the right fit for your Uber-like app development. It also shows you how well they implement complex features–a requirement for an Uber-like app.
Exploring customer testimonials allows you to understand the agency’s quality of customer service. Working with a developer with poor communication skills will likely lead to a development that doesn’t meet your requirements. You can investigate customer testimonials on Clutch.io, which provides verifiable and trusted feedback.
Defined Development Procedure
When hiring a mobile app development company, you should ensure they have a clearly defined development procedure that outlines the steps involved in the process, as well as what the company needs from you. Such a procedure enables you to work closely with the company, keeping them accountable every step of the way.
Not having a development procedure ultimately indicates that the company has either poor communication or that they have no set process. This could lead to development that doesn’t meet your expectations. It’s important to require an overview of the company’s process if it’s not already listed on their website.
Post-Release Support Options
Once your Uber-like app is developed, like all software, it will inevitably run into bugs and require maintenance. As a result, you must ensure that you hire a development company that offers post-release support options. Many agencies, like Idea Maker, provide support options at package prices, so you can rest easy knowing your app is maintained cost-effectively.
Although a development company may include post-development support as a service, many fail to follow through when the time comes. You can check whether a developer provides post-release support by examining the quality of their preexisting apps. If the apps function smoothly and appear well-maintained, then it’s likely the company will offer excellent support options.
Driver and Passenger App Iterations
There are two versions of the Uber app: one for drivers and one for passengers. To create an Uber-like app, you will also need to provide exclusive features to each party. For example, drivers must receive push notifications about active jobs and have a way to accept or decline.
Alternatively, you could build a driver’s portal in the main app. This would save you money on the development, as you’d only need one app. However, it may be challenging to maintain both sides within one variant.
Deploy Your Uber-like App to Users
After making a ride-sharing app like Uber, you must tactically deploy it to drivers and customers. Ideally, the app will be launched on the driver side first, as you don’t want your customers to struggle to find rides.
Once you have a sufficient number of drivers using your Uber-like app, you can deliver the client-side passenger app. Users will then connect with nearby drivers through your earlier established algorithmic process.
The Different Strategies for Marketing an Uber-Like App
While there are several ways to market an Uber-like app, here are some of the best strategies to consider when getting the word out about your new platform.
Social Media Marketing
Promoting your rideshare app on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can rapidly spread awareness among local users. This can be done by creating social posts that showcase your service’s key differentiators and conveniences and utilizing targeted paid ads to connect with audiences in your launch cities. It’s also a good idea to build excitement by teasing launch dates and offering giveaways or special promo codes.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Optimizing your rideshare website for relevant searches helps it rank higher in results. For SEO, you’ll want to conduct keyword research around terms like “airport rideshare” or “cheap local rides” to determine optimal terms and create pages and content focused on ranking for those phrases. This lets you appear prominently in search results when users are actively looking for services.
Paid search and display ads allow precise targeting by location, interests, and intent signals. You can promote discounted first rides to win new users coming from competitors. You can also retarget those who visit your site but don’t convert to remain top of mind. Paid ads complement organic channels, letting you drive conversions across the buyer’s journey.
How to Choose the Right Strategy for Your Target Audience
When it comes to choosing the proper marketing strategy for your app’s target audience, you will need to consider a few key factors.
It’s essential to analyze the age, income levels, education status and other traits of your ideal riders in order to implement the correct strategy for your app. Social ads, for instance, may work well for younger urban users, while search ads can help attract older suburban commuters. The point here is to match your tactics to the demographics you intend to reach.
Consider Audience Interests
What entertainment, hobbies, and values resonate most with potential users? After answering these questions, you’ll need to tailor messaging and creative assets to align with their passions and lifestyles. For eco-minded riders, you’ll likely want to emphasize sustainability, while highlighting convenience may persuade busy professionals to use your app. For best results, you should strive to appeal directly to your audience’s interests.
Consider Consumer Behavior
You will also need to analyze whether your audience actively searches for rideshare services or if it will require more general awareness. Then, set marketing priorities accordingly: SEO for the searchers or social for the masses. Additionally, you should determine whether they respond better to discounts or perks in order to choose the right promos and offers, and meet them where they are in the purchasing process.
After reading this article, you should understand how to make a taxi-booking app like Uber. This article covered the following:
- What is Uber?
- How does Uber work?
- Advanced features of Uber to consider
- How to make a ride-sharing app like Uber
Now you are ready to develop your Uber-like app. If you liked this article, you may also find our How to Make a Website Like YouTube blog post interesting.
Idea Maker Is Your Solution for Complete App Development
App development is a challenging process without expert technical knowledge; however, at Idea Maker, we can help you build a high-quality Uber-like app that’s well poised for long-term success. Our professional software developers are ready to provide you with an app that exceeds your expectations.
To learn more about our app development options, schedule a free consultation today.